Mentoring for Learner Success and the ACE LSL Model

Based on the longstanding Internationalization Lab Model, the LSL includes a 12- to 18-month self-study process guided by a lab advisor and regular meetings with cohort team members and the program directors. We are deeply gratified to have been paired with lab advisor Lyssa Paluay, dean of Justice, Equity and Transformation at MassArt. Her wisdom, support and guidance have been instrumental in our accomplishments.

In the LSL, learner success is operationalized in three domains, including life design, workforce and career readiness, and persistence and completion. The LSL was informed by an extensive literature review of these three domains, as well as the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey with data from nearly 350,000 respondents (for an executive summary, see Turk et al., 2020). One key finding from this survey was that people value their higher education experiences more when they see direct connections between their education and their careers and daily lives. Unfortunately, only 25% of participants agreed that their education related to their work and lives.

The ACE Model for Learner Success includes six interconnected target areas and three strategic lenses through which each area is examined. Each institution is encouraged to adapt the model to their own context. Given our unique focus on mentoring and our institutional structure, we developed four working groups. Briefly, each working group was led by one of the four ACE LSL co-leaders, with a co-facilitator and three to five additional team members, most of whom were also on the Steering Committee.

The four working groups included: 1) Curriculum Working Group; 2) Co-Curriculum Working Group; 3) Partnerships Working Group, focusing on student employment, alumni and community partners; and 4) Research Working Group. Each working group utilized the three strategic lenses, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; Data-Informed Decision-Making; and Agility & Transformation. Each also considered the target areas of Leadership & Structure and Faculty & Staff Support as they developed recommendations. The focus and primary findings of each group are included in subsequent sections of this report.